Neopets user Astra_Pfizer is on a one-person quest to encourage players to get on a COVID-19 vaccine. Their first move was to donate hundreds of ‘Neezles Jab‘ items to the communal Money Tree — but their quest hasn’t stopped there.
In the world of Neopets, the Money Tree is a charity area where players can donate items for anyone to take. Typically, it’ll be visited by thousands of users every day as they search for rare items.
As pointed out by Twitter user @zenamidesign, Astra_Pfizer began donating Neezles Jabs to the Money Tree in July, making these vaccine-type items available to everyone for free.
For the Money Tree to be displaying so many Neezles Jabs at once, Astra_Pfizer had to have donated hundreds of items in one go. By flooding the Money Tree, the user seems to be encouraging vaccine take-up in players — a goal seen more clearly when you venture into their user profile.
Who is this mystery Neopets user?
The Astra_Pfizer account was started on July 17, but their good work can already be seen. First, their user shop is manned by a Mutant Bori named Alex Gorsky, after the CEO of vaccine manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Their Green Yurble pet is named Moderna.
The user even claims they’re the real Pascal Soriot, the CEO of AstraZeneca.
When you visit their ‘Overseas Travel’ gallery, which is designed to hold rare items and souvenirs, it’s empty. The caption above it reads “2019 says ‘Remember me'”.
Jeez, isn’t that a bummer to think about.
While the popularity of Neopets has waned since the early 2000s, it maintains a strong player base that includes kids and the young adults who grew up playing on the website. It’s also in the middle of a total refresh following the death of Flash in 2020, meaning more players are returning to the website in droves.
With so many users still active on the site, advocating for vaccine take-up on the platform is a great strategy. While much of the game’s player base won’t be eligible for the jab, older players might be.
But regardless of whether it’ll change anyone’s mind about getting the vaccine, or even if it’s a joke, it will increase awareness by being so prominent on the platform.
Astra_Pfizer’s one-person quest on Neopets may be small, but we salute them all the same. They’re doing what they can to spread the good word about getting vaccinated.
Update 2:26 p.m. AEST 22/7: Gizmodo Australia neomailed Astra_Pfizer to confirm the intentions behind the act, and the user claimed it wasn’t any kind of ‘political statement’.
“I just wanted to bring some character back into Neopets, and create something interesting for the players,” Astra_Pfizer said. They also confirmed they were a resident in Australia and created the account recently in case the ‘Neezles Jab’ flood wasn’t well-received.